Sunday, March 13, 2016

First flight of SpaceX Falcon Heavy moves to NET November 2016


KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla — The first flight of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launch vehicle has been moved to no-earlier-than (NET) November 2016. The company’s newest rocket is slated to launch from historic Launch Complex 39A located at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

On her panel this week at Satellite 2016, SpaceX’s President and COO, Gwynne Shotwell, stated that the Falcon Heavy launch would be from 39A and could take place as early as November of this year. This is according to a source with the Hawthorne, California-based company.

The Falcon Heavy was scheduled to launch in 2015, that moved to 2016, with a possible launch in May and then September eyed.

This could be a very busy year for SpaceX, with as many as twelve flights possible between now and the close of the year. Already in 2016, SpaceX has conducted two launches from its facilities at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California (Jason-3 for NOAA) and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida (the SES-9 communications satellite).

Launch Complex 39A is the site from which men first set forth for the Moon on Apollo 11 in July of 1969. To date some 92 launches, comprised of Saturn V rockets and Space Shuttles have lifted off from the site.

In terms of the Falcon Heavy, the booster should allow SpaceX to ferry an estimated 116,845 lbs (53,000 kg) to orbit (as opposed to the approximately 28,991 lbs or 13,150 kg that the v1.1 version of the Falcon 9 was able to send to low-Earth orbit).